Vigilance in the Sale of Pseudoephedrine- Garda Request

The Garda National Drugs Unit has requested that the PSI share the following information with pharmacists on the increased production of methamphetamine in Ireland using pseudoephedrine sourced from pharmacies. As pharmacists are aware, methamphetamine is a dangerous, highly addictive controlled drug which is associated with fatalities and a high risk of causing harm, and pseudoephedrine is commonly used as a precursor in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine (also known as ‘crystal meth’). 

Intelligence in possession of An Garda Síochána indicates that certain criminal networks, particularly Eastern European groups, involved in the manufacture of methamphetamine are sourcing pseudoephedrine by visiting pharmacies in certain areas or towns across the country and purchasing pseudoephedrine products, albeit in the limited amounts allowed from each pharmacy. The Gardaí request pharmacists’ assistance in increasing vigilance in pharmacies and encourage pharmacists to report any suspicious activity to local Gardaí. 

The following points may be useful to pharmacists in dealing with this matter in their pharmacies:

  • Requests for these products should be referred to the pharmacist, particularly if the request might appear to suggest that it is not for a genuine therapeutic reason – for example, requests for multiple packs or frequent requests by the same person.
  • In dealing with requests where they may have suspicions, pharmacists should use their professional judgement and discretion in deciding whether a genuine clinical need exists and that the medicine is appropriate for the patient. Pharmacists are aware that they can refuse to supply a medicine where, in their professional opinion, such supply is not appropriate.
  • Pharmacy staff should be made aware of the issue and asked to be vigilant.
  • Pharmacists should consider the location and storage of these medicines in their pharmacies so that they can ensure that these products are under their personal control and supervision and also to minimise the risk of theft of these products.
  • Your local Gardaí should be advised if you suspect diversion of these medicines for illegal purposes.

(This  was included in Issue 5 of the PSI Newsletter (June) 2014)